Tech Humans Of Dublin: Michael Culligan, Dublin BIC

By Derek O'Connor - Dublin Globe
Monday, 14th December 2015
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The following piece was featured on Dublin Globe - Mapping Dublin’s tech ecosystem, one human at a time.

I’m the General Manager of the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (BIC). We work with young startup and growth companies, offering soft supports, such as investment preparation, and hard supports, such as finance. Dublin BIC has been around for a quarter of a century; some of the successful companies that have come through us include the likes of Jam Media and Brown Bag Films in the animation territory, and more recently companies like Endeco, NewsWhip, EVEO, Davra Networks, Storyful, MeetingsBooker and Terminal Four. Others, including OpenJaw, Havok, Zamano, Statcounter, Vigtrust and Benetel came through the Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC), which we manage.

Here at Dublin BIC we run HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network) and its many business angel syndicates. Having gotten a company ready for investment, we would then work with EI (Enterprise Ireland) to help them get public investment and then work with the seed funds and bring them directly to some of the angel syndicates, to try and source that smart private money. We bring it all together. Through the formal HBAN angel networks, over 40 companies a year are getting funded. The business angel arena continues to grow dramatically, and we expect it to grow much further in the coming years.

On any given week, I’m in the GEC, then working directly with entrepreneurs and angels on the HBAN side, sourcing new angels, bringing them into the network. The bedrock of what I do is managing our team of advisors at Dublin BIC, the people who roll up their sleeves and work directly with the entrepreneurs, helping them to put together their investor-ready business plans. They provide a lot of tough love.

Somebody once said that if you work at something you’re passionate about, then you’ll never work a day in your life. I really, thoroughly get a kick out of working with these young startup and growth companies and helping them. My background is in technology, and then business, I’ve had the privilege of working around the world, and now I’ve bridged the gaps between the two here in Dublin.

Ireland Inc. is in great shape, and Dublin is on a superb entrepreneurial journey right now. We still have a way to go, but you’re going to see some pretty big winners emerge from here in the next few years. I absolutely believe that we’ve got significant growth ahead of us, but we’ve got to remind ourselves that the bar is constantly being raised globally. We’re placed to succeed, but we’ve got to strive to raise that bar ourselves. To be able to do all this in a capital city with both the sea and mountains on our doorstep is a real pleasure.

@mculligan